Imagine when all people are told to go home. Imagine when the homeless are told to go ‘home’, to stay at home for a certain stipulated time. Which and whose home do they go to? This is the question ringing when millions are holed in their homes following a 21 lockdown by the government in a bid to curb the spread of a deadly global pandemic (COVID-19)
On top of the stress and distress, the homeless have had their situation compounded by the current situation in an affliction that they did not see coming.
Surely, no one was ready as the pandemic cut across the shores of the world with reckless abandon in what will a painful mark that shall hover for quite a long time to come.
The story of the homeless is not documented, yet dire. As Paul Simon sang with Black Mambazo a line goes ‘Emaweni webaba, silala emaweni’ . Nobody or maybe a few know where they are, where their ’emaweni’ is where they sleep.
The song’s lyrics uplucked, point to a midnight lake, a place no one knows but definitely a place that does not offer any peace. Food,shelter and provision of many necessities is scarce for those with homes.
Those who usually sleep on pavements and roadsides are more than homeless as the city centre is deserted.
They used to eat crumbs from the scores who frequented the city before the lockdown and find some ‘warmth’ from the few handouts from well-wishers, who themselves are confined to their homes.
With no radio, no access to mass and social media, they live in darkness and just waiting for the next day, not knowing how they will survive.
Fortunately, for Bulawayo’s homeless, The minister for Bulawayo provincial affairs, Judith Ncube said they have a place to go .
“The homeless are being taken care of by the Government at Jairos Jiri centre through the ministry of social welfare. They have been provided with food and shelter” she said.
She said those who wish to assist in improving their welfare can do so through her office or the department of social welfare.